English GCSE Assessment Objectives

If you’re due to take your English GCSE’s at any time, it’s a good idea to become familiar with the objectives. What are the English GCSE assessment objectives? In this blog, we outlined just what they are.

What is an objective?

An objective is a goal. Imagine you’re playing a game of football. You know that in order to win, you must kick the ball into the net as many times as possible. Without understanding this rule, the game becomes pointless and there isn’t any real direction or point in playing. The same goes for any exam, when you know what your objective is, you understand your direction and what you need to do in order to win. In other words, you know exactly where to kick your ball and why you’re doing it. Without understanding your goals, the game becomes pointless. The GCSE English Assessment Objectives outline the skills and knowledge you need to show you have on your exam.

What are the UK English GCSE objectives?

The English GCSE examination is split into two categories: English Literature and English Language. Each of these papers has two different sets of objectives, so it’s important you know which paper you will be completing. Some students may complete both papers, other students may only complete English Literature or English Language. Be sure to check this with your teacher so you know what your objectives are.

English Literature Assessment Objectives

There are four English Literature Assessment Objectives as outlined below:

  • AO1: Read, understand and respond to texts. Students should be able to:
    • maintain a critical style and develop an informed personal response
    • use textual references, including quotations, to support and illustrate interpretations.
  • AO2: Analyse the language, form and structure used by a writer to create meanings and effects, using relevant subject terminology where appropriate.
  • AO3: Show understanding of the relationships between texts and the contexts in which they were written.
  • AO4: Use a range of vocabulary and sentence structures for clarity, purpose and effect, with accurate spelling and punctuation.

Weighting of Assessment Objectives

Below we have outlined the weighting given to each objective. The weighting determines how much you will be assessed on the particular objective. Take a look at the table below and determine which skills and knowledge you should be focused on building the most.

GCSE English Literature Assessment Objectives Weighting

English Language Assessment Objectives

There are more assessment objectives for the English Language GCSE than there are for English Literature, however, you are typically only assessed from AO1 to AO6. AO7-AO9 are endorsed targets on the Spoken Language NEA paper.

  • AO1:
    • identify and interpret explicit and implicit information and ideas
    • select and synthesise evidence from different texts
  • AO2: Explain, comment on and analyse how writers use language and structure to achieve effects and influence readers, using relevant subject terminology to support their views
  • AO3: Compare writers’ ideas and perspectives, as well as how these are conveyed, across two or more texts
  • AO4: Evaluate texts critically and support this with appropriate textual references
  • AO5: Communicate clearly, effectively and imaginatively, selecting and adapting tone, style and register for different forms, purposes and audiences. Organise information and ideas, using structural and grammatical features to support coherence and cohesion of texts
  • AO6: Candidates must use a range of vocabulary and sentence structures for clarity, purpose and effect, with accurate spelling and punctuation. (This requirement must constitute 20% of the marks for each specification as a whole.)
  • AO7: Demonstrate presentation skills in a formal setting
  • AO8: Listen and respond appropriately to spoken language, including to questions and feedback on presentations
  • AO9: Use spoken Standard English effectively in speeches and presentations.

Weighting of English Language Assessment Objectives

English Language Assessment Objectives Weighting


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